We’ve been updating some of our Antigua, Guatemala luxury hotel reviews following a recent trip where we added a few new ones. We just posted a revamped review of the hotel there that continually comes out on top as one of the best in Central America in magazine readers’ polls: Casa Santo Domingo.
I’ve said before I don’t take much stock in those travel magazine reader polls. Very few readers have stayed at more than a handful of hotels, so people either vote for the few places they’ve experienced or they vote for the famous place they’ve heard of. (Then there are all the ballot stuffers who have a vested interest in who wins.) Hotel Casa Santo Domingo is certainly the most famous hotel in the whole country, an institution that has hung on in the bad times and flourished in the good times. As we noted in our recent article on luxury real estate in Antigua, this is the best time the city has ever seen, so business is very good at its biggest luxury hotel in the center.
This looks to have enabled the hotel to put some money into refurbishment, with rooms looking a little spiffier than last time we visited and some updates in the amenities. You don’t have to live like a nun as there are bathrobes, make-up mirrors, hair dryers, and nice toiletries. There wasn’t much they could do about room size though, so the standards should be left to the tour groups traipsing in and out constantly. Go for an upgrade to a deluxe room or suite so you can really take in the ambiance. In the winter you can light a fire, sip some Ron Zacapa rum, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The grounds here are lovely and are the big draw that brings visitors back. This property is located around what was once a major convent, with original stones and decorations from the 1500s to the 1700s. Several museums on the property mean a steady stream of non-guest tourists coming through, but the pool area is separated from that by a gate requiring a key card.
The big reason to stay here instead of one of the lovely small inns in town is to have the big hotel array of facilities on hand, like restaurants and bars. Unfortunately, the restaurants here don’t live up to their potential and local residents almost universally say, “nice setting, boring food” when you ask them about their experiences. If you’re staying elsewhere, come for a drink rather than dinner and if you’re staying here, do most of your non-breakfast dining around town instead. It’s an easy stroll to the main plaza from here, though the layout of the hotel and its walls keep it well insulated from the bustle.
See our full review of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala.